After a one-year pause in Ohio's school accountability system, the road back to normalcy is uncertain. Fordham's new policy brief titled Resetting school accountability, from the bottom up offers a clear and concise plan to restart state assessments and school report cards. It also proposes solutions that would resolve several hot-button accountability debates, including the use of report card ratings to drive formal policy decisions.
The report includes the following recommendations for 2020–2021:
- Administer state exams and report all assessment data, but withhold all school ratings
- Repeal the state’s academic distress commission law
- Eliminate automatic closure for charter schools
- Review and evaluate Ohio’s existing school improvement efforts
Starting in 2021–2022, the recommendations include:
- Implement a revamped report card and issue school ratings
- Pare back eligibility for performance-based EdChoice vouchers
- Expand eligibility for income-based EdChoice vouchers
- Require, subject to capacity, district participation in open enrollment
- Remove geographic restrictions on charter schools
- Expand the number of districts eligible for regulatory exemptions
- Provide bonus funding to both high achieving and improving schools
- Expand the quality charter school incentive fund
Taken together, these recommendations would allow Ohio to restart—and reset—its education policies in a way that puts transparency about student outcomes and Ohio families and communities at the heart of school accountability.